Journal Ps 51-52 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit….
Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will return to you.” Ps 51:8-13
Observation: I come to a section like this, totally absorbed in the cry of the Psalmist as my own, and what happens? God gives me an assignment…
Analysis: Ps 51:8-12—the cry of a heart; the cry of many Disciples of Christ.
Candidly I notice that the “cry” is all about me. “I want to hear; Hide your face from my sins; create a new heart in me…and so on and so on.” Then the Psalmist continues his implied “if/then” statement: “If all this stuff happens, then I will teach transgressors your ways…”
The cry should be expected. This prayer should be a daily prayer; I should call out to God for all of this all the time….and with tears and verbal (not silent) cries.
(BTW: Searching through the Bible, while there are indications of “silent” prayer (Ps 4:4; Ps 63:6), the majority, no matter what the occasion, is prayer that is spoken out loud. Praying is a function of opening a mouth to God. Training the face in the mirror to pray out loud is the Biblical expectation of a Disciple.)
Back to the show: To continue the implied expectation, “Then I will teach transgressors Your Ways…”, indicates that I know the difference between the ways of righteousness and the ways of transgression and am actively learning the points of difference. Better said, “Am I looking to learn the Ways of God?”
Ability to teach means that I have learned something to pass down.
There is a precept I have learned: While I stand on the Foundation of the Gospel and of His Word, I also stand on the shoulders of Godly Men that have come before me.
What, then, can I pass down? What have I learned to faithfully bring to my family so that God is exalted? Am I confident in anything so as to say, “Follow me, dear family, as I follow Christ?” Is the presentation of my daily life consistent with my mouth? Am I humble about it, or do I seek to “lord it over” my family? When resisted, do I persist with gentleness and persuasion and prayer?
It is evident to me that this is not immediate, it doesn’t arrive by osmosis; I have to learn and train to get from one place, (“Create in me a clean heart…”) to another (“Then I will teach transgressors…”)… It takes being purposeful, applying effort (Study to show yourself approved, rightly handling the Word of Truth…) and a plan to accomplish this.
I am remembering Paul being summoned by Felix in Acts 24. The Biblical record says, “And as he (Paul) reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed…” (vs. 24). And this from a guy whom the Scriptures say was pretty conversant with the Way of Jesus (Christianity’s name early on).
It is not alarming a Felix that I am focusing on here, it is that Paul reasoned about doctrine.
Prayer: Father, I am in no place like Paul, but I guess that engaging in writing like this is training myself to be able to. Writing, journaling, about your Word and how your Word affects my life is training. It certainly isn’t argumentative; it is difficult to argue with myself.
Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters in this local church to grow in Your Ways; to pursue You with all their hearts. When they read Your Word, to begin to circle all the verbs/adverbs to get an indication that there is more than Matt 28 that calls us.
Create revival, O God, create revival,